What is an artist book? If you ask five different people who create them, you’ll get five different answers. Some even say that if an artist tells you something (anything) is an artist book, then it is.
Here’s how I define it. First, an artist book tells a story, primarily through images (drawings or photographs, for example), though it may also contain words. Second, an artist book is interactive for the reader/viewer ~ that can be as simple as turning pages or as complex as solving a puzzle. Third, all components are assembled and delivered as one unit (e.g., bound together in a volume or fit into a custom box).
The challenge ~ and fun ~ of creating an artist book is marrying content with structure. Sometimes you have a theme and look for just the right format to present it in. Sometimes you have a cool structure and look for content that it can highlight. Either way, the door is wide open for creativity.
History, humor, language, science, whimsy, social issues, or just beautiful art ~ anything goes.
[SOLD] I’ve always been into fonts and letters, so when I saw my first human alphabet, I was intrigued to find more. I discovered that artists have been creating human alphabets for over 1000 years, forming letters with bodies in various positions.
This artist book explores the history of human alphabets. I chose one letter from each of 36 sets, out of the many hundreds of sets I found. The letters range in dates, styles and mediums used. The oldest I included is from a 9th century Psalm book and the most recent is from 2016.
I find it incredibly heroic when a person puts community over self. Inspired by their actions, this piece is dedicated to a notable five of the many who have been jailed for peacefully working for the greater good. There are countless others who sit in prisons worldwide.
Each hero’s page includes a few lines of bio, a quote I found moving, and an image of the person in a windowed ‘cell.’ Released from captivity, the image cards are placed on the Freedom wall. I also included a poem I wrote in honor of these brave freedom fighters.
January 6, 2021 was a harrowing day in America, where our democracy was tested, but ultimately upheld.
Seeing images of people forced to hide to protect themselves from the mob, led me to thoughts about others who also need to find safe haven. This book tells personal stories about souls who shelter in interim places, be they established or improvised, and how those places can transform lives.
When I lived in NYC many moons ago, I had a friend with a prosthetic leg. She amazed me in how she navigated the city, not an easy thing for someone with two good legs. I was reminded of her not long ago, when the topic of inclusivity finally became part of the broader social conversation.
I decided to investigate how prosthetics have changed over the years ~ and I found the research fascinating. I explored history, innovation, and aesthetics, as well as the mind-blowing accomplishments of some with prosthetic legs. This 4 part book is a visual summary of what I discovered.
I use six different types of materials when making art: fabric/fiber, paper, paint, ink, found objects, and organics (like leaves or stones, for example).
In this mixed media artist book, I used one wedge of a hexagon to highlight each type of material ~ on its own page of an accordion-folded structure. I combined all materials in my iris fold cover design. This one is personal ~ and one of my favorites.
Challenged to create a book about warmth, I made this piece in December ~ in Los Angeles. While it wasn’t a chilly day in L.A., I’m all too familiar with the bitter cold of the northeast U.S., where I spent most of my life. Snow days, bundling up, and towels fresh from the dryer to warm us up. And hot chocolate!
My mind jumped to Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, a favorite from Robert Frost. In this book, I used the last stanza of the poem, lines tucked into the pockets of tattered and torn, weathered and worn winter clothes. The 4”x6” book is made up of all covers, split and bound on either side, each pair opening to reveal the layer beneath.